People go missing — sometimes for decades.
Last month, a body was recovered from a river in Minnesota, suspected to be a person who went missing in 1984, but no DNA or information has been entered into a database to help identify the person.
A man jumped off a parking ramp in Minneapolis. It took a year and a half to identify him as a man who went missing that day from St. Paul.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is reaching out to family members of the missing to assist them in finding their loved ones.
Whether the person has ever been reported missing or not, family members who haven’t already are encouraged to provide DNA and information to the BCA to assist in locating their relative.
“We are always working to collect DNA from families of missing,” said BCA Superintendent Drew Evans over the phone Friday. “We are hosting these special events in hopes of reaching a large number of people. There are some people who have been missing for 20 or 30 years who we don’t have DNA on file or who have never been reported missing.”
There are two area events that family members can attend this week.
“Many of these people were discovered decades ago when DNA testing was not available…” states a recent BCA news release. “Forensic testing capabilities now available allow BCA scientists to derive DNA from old or poor condition remains. The BCA needs family member DNA samples to compare with DNA collected from unidentified remains.”
Currently, there are at least 100 sets of human remains located in Minnesota, 46 of which are ready for DNA comparison. Nationally, there are 40,000 sets of unidentified human remains waiting to be named.
“We appreciate all the family members who consider coming forward to attend these events or contact our office.” Evans said. “We want to provides answers to families.”
The Minnesota BCA is a division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Since 2013 it has pushed to collect DNA to possibly match with human remains. In the upcoming days, there will be two DNA collection opportunities for families of missing persons in northern Minnesota.
Since 2013, five people have been identified through DNA matches to family members: Pearline Waltson of Minneapolis, Cassandra Rhine of Minneapolis, Michele Busha of Bay City, Texas, Todd Wagener, last known alive in Pima…